Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Top 15 Texas Tourist Attractions With #1 Not Being Cabela's Sporting Goods Store

All of us Texans should have the Texas Almanac in our possession.

Among the best information, that I've found so far, comes from the Survey for Office of the Governor, listing Texas Traveler's Top Attractions.

My one longtime reader, and anyone reading this in the Fort Worth zone, may remember a few years back when the sporting goods store named Cabela's come courting Fort Worth.

Cabela's told Fort Worth officials, and the city's puppet newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which repeated it over and over again, that Cabela's would be the #1 Tourist Attraction in Texas.

The number of visitors predicted, that I read in that terrible newspaper, ranged between 4 and 8 million.

Like a lonely spinster, surprised to find a suitor interested in her, Fort Worth agreed to just about anything Cabela's asked for, like tax breaks, I forget what all the concessions were. Part of the deal was Cabela's had to meet certain performance criteria, and if those criteria were not met, Cabela's would pay for it.

I remember the first time I read that Cabela's was to be the Top Attraction in Texas, it just seemed such a ridiculous claim, that I was appalled the local newspaper of record fed that propaganda without questioning it.

Not long after Fort Worth got shystered by its Cabela's suitor, Cabela's announced that another Cabela's would be opening in Texas, down in Buda, south of Austin. The fact that Cabela's was cheating on its Fort Worth suitor, with another town in Texas, was not much mentioned in the Star-Telegram. Nor did the Star-Telegram ever admit, as far as I know, that the claims that Cabela's would be the Top Attraction in Texas, were, basically, a con job that Cabela's has pulled on other easy to dupe places.

In other towns, like Boise, Idaho, when Cabela's makes its play and asks for tax breaks and other breaks, Boise told Cabela's if it is not economically viable for Cabela's to operate in the Boise area, without being subsidized, then don't. Boise provided Cabela's no breaks. Cabela's built a Boise store, anyway.

So, I found it amusing to see a list, provided by the State of Texas, of what the Top 15 Tourist Attractions are in Texas, both for Texans and for out of state visitors.

I know it is going to shock you, but Cabela's is not the #1 Tourist Attraction in Texas. The Governor's survey combined the total number of visitors to both the Buda and Fort Worth Cabela's and even then Cabela's was only the #10 Attraction for Texans and #7 for out of state visitors.

In a rather funny irony, two attractions in Fort Worth are more attractive to Texans than Cabela's, that being the Fort Worth Stockyards at #8 and the Fort Worth Zoo at #9. Six Flags Over Texas, in Arlington, is a bigger attraction than Cabela's at #5. I remember mentioning Six Flags in my letter to the editor of the Star-Telegram, asking if it really made sense, to them, that a sporting goods store was going to be a bigger attraction than Six Flags?

Anyway, below are the two lists, the first list being that of the Top 15 Attraction for Texans, with the second list being the Top 15 Attractions for out of state visitors.

Top Attractions For Texas Tourists

1. Alamo
2. River Walk
3. Galveston Island
4.(T) State Capitol
5.(T) South Padre Island
5. Six Flags
7. NASA Space Center
8. Fort Worth Stockyards
9. Fort Worth Zoo
10. Cabela's (both Buda & Fort Worth)
11.(T) Sea World
11.(T) Moody Gardens
13 Ballpark at Arlington
14. Kemah Boardwalk
15. San Marcos Outlets

Top Attractions For Out of State Visitors

1. Galveston Island
2. Alamo
3. San Marcos Outlets
4. River Walk
5. State Capitol
6. South Padre Island
7. Cabela's (both Buda & Fort Worth)
8. Sea World
9. State Fair of Texas
10. Six Flags
11. Kemah Boardwalk
12. Fort Worth Stockyards
13. Fiesta Texas
14. Moody Gardens
15. Ballpark at Arlington

My only problem with the Texas Almanac is there is so much information on its 736 pages that the print size makes it hard for me to read, at times, without a reading aid, like a magnifying glass.


Cheap Tricks and Costly Truths said...

I'm noticing that you don't have a link to the zoo. I'm thinking the next time Annie and I are in the Ft Worth area that we should go to the zoo...maybe you'd like to accompany us.

Durango said...

I've only been to the Fort Worth Zoo once, way back before I started web paging my Texas adventures. It's a nice enough zoo, but had some disturbing elements, like the worst aquarium I've ever seen. I think that may now be gone. I like zoos like Seattle's Woodland Park and the San Diego Zoo, that replicate the natural habitat.

Jovan Gonzales said...

How is nothing in Dallas in the top 15? How are Fair Park (State Fair, Aquarium, Museum of Nature and Science, helloooo), Dallas World Aquarium, and the Dallas Zoo not on this list? Hrmmmm. I don't like this list. They combined whole islands, cities, and specific POIs in one list. I feel like that's comparing apples, oranges, and bananas. You can't combine two cities' Cabelas. Galveston is a whole city and island like South Padre. I guess I'm just too analytical. Meh. How do they even measure that!? Do they ask a small group and scale it up? Dangit. Science mode coming out.

PS: DWA is an awesome aquarium / small zoo. When DZ finally finishes the Wilds of Africa exhibit, I think it'll be ever so slightly better than FW's -- Not that either will ever compare to San Diego's.

Durango said...

That list made no sense to me either. Fair Park was not on the list, but the State Fair of Texas, that takes place at Fair Park, was on the list. Fort Worth Zoo is on the list, but not the Dallas Zoo, which I think is bigger and gets more visitors. Cabela's is on the list. And the San Marcos Outlets. Why is the Galleria in Dallas not on the list? Or Grapevine Mills.

San Diego's is the best. Both the Balboa Park part and the Wild Animal Park that's further north. Is that the name? It's been awhile. I forget things. Had a close encounter with a tiger and had a gorilla throwing gorilla dung at me at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Fun time.

Sarah Richter said...

>> that Cabela's would be the #1 Tourist Attraction in Texas.

Do they not think there are other Cabela's out there in the US? I would suspect it is not the _only_ Cabela's in Texas.

I think I am more worried and grossed out that there are so many people visiting the stockyards. How is that a tourist attraction?

Durango said...

Sarah Richter---
Not quite sure I'm understand what you mean by "I would suspect it is not the _only_ Cabela's in Texas."

Have you not seen all the tourists that flock to the Fort Worth Stockyards? It's a legit tourist attraction, what with the Fort Worth Herd, the world's biggest honky tonk at Billy Bob's Texas, lots off good restaurants, including two Tim Love places, those being The Love Shack and Lonesome Dove Bistro, there's rodeo, festivals, a wild west show, a museum and the Cattlepen Maze, that was a detour on The Amazing Race.

Jovan Gonzales said...

Hmmmm. So the fair (which is an event) was on a list of places!? I'm over trying to analyze it, haha. I know the DZ is larger (largest in Texas), but I don't know about attendance. If the San Marcos Outlets were on there, then I would think Schlitterbahn would be on there as well since that's where basically all the customers come from.

SD's zoo is the best. By a long shot. I think only the actual African/Australian wildernesses would be better. I have no clue about the names, it's been like 6 years since I've been to SD. You know anywhere that involves animal poo being hurled at you means a good time will be had! I guess maybe the exception is in politics ... they throw a lot of poo.

Durango said...

It was not a list of places. It was a list of Tourist Attractions. I assume the ranking criteria had to do with how many visitors a tourist attraction attracted. And you're right, why is Schlitterbahn not on the list? It being the #1 Water Park in the World. We must keep in mind this list was generated by the state of Texas, some sort of Governor's survey. I'm sure you've noticed that the current governor of Texas is not an individual prone to asking critical questions about surveys done in his name.

Sarah R said...

Sorry, my ignorance was showing rather badly in my comments.

(The reason I follow your blog is because I'm the opposite of you. I'm a San Antonian transplanted to Seattle many years ago.)

When I see 'stockyards', it means exactly what it is and not some fancy 'come spend money' consumerist remake of abandonned stockyards. Having heard stories about working in the stockyards, the whole idea of tourists being in a real stockyard turned my stomach. And I was really wondering what kind of society we were becoming if that were true.

Also, I had no idea that there were only two Cabela's in Texas. My mistake. I work in the internet industry and they have a greater online presence so I thought they had more stores the country than they actually do.

Durango said...

Sarah R---
I didn't think you had all that much ignorance showing. I just thought you'd not been to the Fort Worth Stockyards. The Stockyards quit being a working cattle place a long long long time ago. Then it got revived as a tourist attraction. I think it's the best part of Fort Worth. Yeah, there are only 2 Cabela's in Texas, but they seem to be spreading across the country. The Cabela's in Phoenix did not run the gonna be the biggest tourist attraction in the state scam in the state with the Grand Canyon.

Are you up in Seattle now? I'd been told that Austin reminded people of Seattle, but the first time I saw San Antonio it struck me as more like Seattle than Austin. Why I don't know? Maybe it seemed newer, maybe it was that Tower of the Americas.

Things to Do in TN said...

Fortworth Zoo is real nice.

Things to do in TN